In a EuroBasket battle of current versus former Arizona Wildcats point guards, it was the more experienced one who came out on top Friday.
Nico Mannion and Italy defeated Kerr Kriisa-led Estonia 83-62 in the opening round of EuroBasket 2022 Group C action.
Mannion had 12 points, four assists and four rebounds for Italy, who overcame the absence of injured star forward Danilo Gallinari.
Kriisa did everything in his power to keep heavy underdog Estonia in the game, scoring 20 points on 8-11 shooting including 4-6 from 3-point range. He had six assists but also five turnovers.
“It was a fun little battle out there,” Mannion said of defending Kriisa. “It’s great. Then we got (assistant) Riccardo Fois on our bench who’s with the Wildcats as well. It feels like family.”
Video: Nico Mannion was thrilled that he got to compete against a fellow Wildcat as Mannion's Italy defeated Kerr Kriisa's Estonia in Milan@AZDesertSwarm #EuroBasket #Eurobasket2022 #EuroBasket22 https://t.co/A6IdocyFAR— Ball in Europe (@ballineurope) September 2, 2022
Italy led by three points after one quarter but outscored Estonia 31-15 in the second quarter to take a commanding lead into the second half.
Highlights can be found below.
Arizona players and staff were tuned in to the matchup, watching the game from their McKale Center film room.
In Group D, Lauri Markkanen-led Sweden fell to Israel 89-87. Markkanen had a tremendous game, scoring 33 points to go with 12 rebounds. Unfortunately Markkanen—who was recently sent to the Utah Jazz in Donovan Mitchell trade—didn't have much support around him.
Also in Group D is former Arizona big man Dusan Ristic and Serbia defeated Netherlands 100-76, with Ristic contributing 11 points and six rebounds.
EuroBasket group play continues this weekend. On Saturday, Italy faces Greece and Estonia plays Ukraine in Group C, while Serbia plays Czech Republic and Finland takes on Poland.